Corrie Mitchell from faithstreet complains about the superficial meaninglessness of modern worship songs; constructing her own Letterman Top Ten List. Terry Mattingly from GetReligion complains about the horrid quality of Christian movies. To which, one can only say, the vacuity of modern cultural products are a direct barometer of the vacuity of modern “believers”.
The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is no evangelical mind.
Mark Noll complained in “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind” (1995) that an Evangelical mind is an oxymoron. Atheists and agnostics know more about religion than Evangelicals. Even the theologians are in on the act. Evangelical theological journals claim that “Evangelical theology has accepted the collapse of classical foundationalism—the notion that there are, or should be, logical or rational grounds for belief.” Surely, one cannot really blame the pupils, if they have idiots for teachers!
Itinerant preacher Paul Washer, made itinerant because most cannot bear his message more than once, complains of the flag waving and tee shirt brandishing level of commitment. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, once deemed heterodoxical, if not heretical, is now consequently celebrated for his “The Cost of Discipleship” (1937).
One observes in horrid amazement, that despite all the travesties and atrocities committed in the name of torture in the last decade or so, over 80% of self-identified Evangelicals still support the practice in the future, including that “reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement in the U.S.”, Southern Baptist Albert Mohler and the egghead of the New Calvinist movement, Wayne Grudem. The divorce rate amongst self-identified Evangelicals barely differs from those without religious identification.
Genie of the Cross preacher Joel Osteen is now the teeth of Evangelicalism.
What is the reason(s) why the heartland of Evangelicalism has become such a scandalous vacuity?
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The true Christian walk requires the use of both legs; one “rationalistic”, so to speak, concerned with truth and coherence; one “pietistic”, so to speak, concerned with ethics and ethos, principle and passion, in the outer and inner man. One needs both legs to briskly walk to the Celestial City. Most Christians have been prone historically to lean rather heavily on the one or the other leg; and thereby are either limping or hopping arduously on one leg.
So although most of my writings might come across as ‘rationalistic’, there exists another element in me, which has become too acquainted with the motions of the heart and mind and has often heard that small soft voice.
After escaping from decades in various degrees of spiritual warfare and psychosis, I grieved and raged at the bankruptcy of the counsel that could be found in Evangelical circles. I did know not then what I know now. It was not that the help was worthless. The help was worse than worthless.
Having come to some conclusions about how to approach my personal demons, I was dissuaded in the most kindest firmness that I was sadly mistaken by the most reputable preacher in the environs of Orangeville. I was crestfallen, to say the least. More so, it put enough doubt to prevent me from doing the right thing. And thus for another 2.5 years, I returned to an interminable, unmitigated psychic hell, until I found sufficient backing from Scriptures and Evangelical greats of the past to confirm my original conclusions.
Recollecting that deepest pall of horrid imagery, verbalizations and sensations, insanity, paralysis of will, grief and hopeless despair; I wailed on my regular walk to a small creek in Amaranth, how I despised the church. Although I might be the third worst of sinners after Apostle Paul and John Bunyan, I felt that hateful rage of the Four Horsemen of the Atheistic Apocalypse.
The still wee voice neither condemned nor rebuked me. Nay. As clear as the day was, I heard “they do not believe Me”. The third person response was spooky in itself. However, it was the perspicuity of the insightful response that confirmed its source. These flag wavers and tee shirt wavers do not actually believe.
They do not even know what the essence and nature of faith is; namely conducting oneself, internally and externally, upon the premises that one claims to believe. The premises are like passive routers. The person must will to be redirected by those routers.
Most do not even know what is contained in the Bible. And those who do, syncretize whatever assertions, promises, counsels and commands found therein with assertions and counsels found without. In this, they make their rational faculties their true God and arbitrator.
Others await for their psychological state of mind to conform with that which is written before acting on it. In this, they make their psychological and sensory faculties (a.k.a. instincts and moral sense) their true God and arbitrator.
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And they wonder why are the millennials leaving the Evangelical church?
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
because you have rejected knowledge,
I reject you from being a priest to me.
And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children. (Hosea 4:6)
Evangelicals have lost their saltiness. And when the world rains down on them, what they will think as persecution and martyrdom, will be found to rightful judgment from Above through means of the Assyrians.
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. (Matthew 5:13)
Reforming the songs sung in vacuous worship services is akin to deploying a Barbie doll’s nurse kit to perform heart surgery.